Introduction on Scrapyard Terrain
A very simple tutorial on building some dynamic and visually appealing terrain to block line of sight and movement for your miniature games. Although I went for a very standard shape (A wall design from Warmachine and Hordes) I encourage you to take the principals here and make your own amazing creations in all kinds of shapes and sizes
1.)Gather Materials and Tools
For this tutorial you will need the following supplies, all of which can be found around the house or at your local hobby or craft supply store.
-Plastic sprue (very commonly found with Games Workshop models)
-Plasticard (or a sturdy material of your choosing for the base)
-White PVA Glue (Elmers works just fine)
-Flock or your choice of basing material
-Any paints you may want to use
In the example presented, I went for a Martian-earth colored base with dark shreds of metal and these are reflected in my paint color choice.
2.) Cut the Plasticard to your base design.
For this example I opted to build a small rectangular wall, very simple. Be sure to get creative with your designs as more dynamic shapes will really bring the board to life!
3.)Trim the Sprue
Begin cutting the sprue is to a variety of lengths, some that are nearly as long your base, other that are only a few centimeters long. That diversity of sizes will add to the visual appeal of the piece by giving the eye a lot to look at. In my example I cut a multitude of sizes but most were about ¾ as long as my base. In addition to clipping lengths of sprue I also suggest bending, cutting and chipping into it as this will add some weathering effects; as if this metal has been chewed up and wrecked. Use you hobby knife to sharpen the end of your clipped sprue and cut gashes into a few pieces. Attached are a few examples of the process I am describing. The more work you put in at this step, the better your terrain piece will look at the end.
4.)Texture the base
Take your PVA glue and apply it liberally to the plasticard base. Next, add your basing material (could be sand or flock) which in my example is a fine rock mix from Army Painter. Cover the entirety of the base and let it sit for 24 hours. Depending on how easily the material chips off, you may need to add a second coat of glue or basing material.
5.)Assemble the scrap heap
While your base is drying, you can begin assembly of the scrap pile by gluing the sprue bits together in a random configuration. I suggest laying some bigger bits on a flat surface and gluing bits on top of them as you build upwards. Additionally you can add any flavor pieces you want at this time, in my example I added a small gun bit I had laying around. As you build upwards be sure to make sure you do not exceed the space that your base allows, too much “Overhang” can get in the way of game-play. This is why I typically suggest laying down your bigger pieces first, as you can set them up in roughly the shape of your base and use them as a guide. Remember, the idea here is to create the look of random scrap; so odd angles, mismatched shapes (curved and straight, chewed up and smooth) all add to this effect.
6.)Paint your Base up
Now that your base is dry you can paint over it (if applicable). I based mine is a rusty red using a can of Rustoleum and dry brushed some more browns and reds into in to add a variety of colors and effects. This step should take really no time at all and you may not even need it depending on your basing materials. The reason I bring it up is this: This is your last chance to do major color changes to the base, so get it just how you want it!
Now that your scrap metal has dried, go ahead and prime it. I went for a flat black primer spray, but a metallic spray or steel color can work as well. If you’re going for visual effect, I suggest the black primer and dryburshing metal colors into it, if speed painting is your thing then go for the metallic colors.
8.)Make it Metal!
Begin dry-brushing your metallic paints onto the scrap pile starting from darkest colors you have. Next add a lighter tone, being sure to avoid the deeper recess that you reached with the darker paint previously. Having the darker paints show in the interior and lighter colors on the exterior will create a very simple shadow effect as well as bring out the detail in those chips and scrapes you made earlier.
Now go ahead and glue your finished scrapyard pile to your base. After letting it dry, add any details you want (model plants for example) and your new terrain piece is ready for action! Keep in mind that the example here is merely a proof of concept, and that you can use these ideas to create rolling hills of scrap, dynamic model bases exciting warzone objectives.